Obrázky na stránke

late R.H. ran Nautilus, who was not successful; and, at the very last meeting of those popular races, no less than two horses from foreign parts were entered for the cup: it is true that one did not appear, and that the other (Cameleon, by Camel, out of Ion's dam, named by La Société Verviétoise) cut but a bad figure; still it proves that our continental neighbours are training on, and are anxious to contend for that pre-eminency which Cowper wrote of. "We justly boast, at least, superior jockeyship, and claim the honours of the turf as all our own." If we can only remain at peace with la grande nation--“ a consummation most devoutly to be wished for"-we have no doubt but that ere long we shall enlist many foreign sportsmen under our racing banners. Instead of war, let us contend for peaceful victory on the turf. Our army, headed by Field-Marshal Robinson, with General Nat commanding the heavy, and General Kitchener the light divisions, will challenge the whole world. Let the plains of Newmarket witness the contest, and, instead of emulating

"That great day of milling, when blood flowed in lakes,
Where kings held the bottle and Europe the stakes,"

let the Derby, Oaks, cups, plates, and stakes be the prizes we combat to attain. The gallant, though somewhat belligerent Joinville has latterly published his views upon fighting, which, according to Albert Smith, are very ultra marine. His Royal Highness seems most anxious to

[ocr errors]

"Cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war; and although we "Britishers" are always ready for a fight or a "scrimmage," and have never any fear of its result, let us hope that such horrors will be averted. On the turf, across the country, at the Red House, on the Highland Moors, by the Spey side, at Lord's cricketground, on the road, we are ever ready to meet our adversaries, giving the "allowances" for foreign blood. Had the ever-to-be-lamented Duke of Orleans lived, we believe that racing would have been even more patronized in France than it now is; for his Royal Highness was a most liberal and zealous supporter of the turf and the sports of the field, and a most pleasing contrast to one of his ancestors, who, at the end of last century, figured for a few years at Newmarket and Ascot: we allude to his Royal Highness's grandfather, the Duke of Orleans, more familiarly known by the name of Egalité. Without giving our pages up to the private or political history of this prince, whose rapid fall from the height of sublunary grandeur to the lowest abyss of earthly misery, imprisonment and an ignominious death, may "point a moral," though it shall not adorn "our tale." We cannot refrain from laying before our readers the duke's exploits upon

the turf.

In 1789, his Royal Highness made his début as a sportsman upon the English turf, and in the following year sought the fountain-head, Newmarket, where he was generally unsuccessful. At the Craven Meeting, His Royal Highness's Boxer was beaten by Mr. Vernon's Scrub, 30 guineas. In April, the Duke's Lambenos yielded the victory to Mr. Fox's Shovel, and Lord Clermont's Tally-ho!


the same meeting his Royal Highness was again unfortunate, his horse Hocks having been beaten by Lord Barrymore's Fop, and by Lord Falkland's Sir Charles. In the first Spring Meeting the Duke's Fortitude beat Lord Derby's Director for 100 guineas. But his luck was but transient, for, upon the same day his Royal Highness's horse Jericho was defeated in a stakes of 200 guineas, and had to pay 100 guineas forfeit to the Duke of Bedford's Skyscraper. Two days afterwards, at the Second Spring Meeting, Lambinos paid 100 guineas forfeit to Lord Grosvenor's Asparagus; and, in eight-and-forty hours, beat a field of ten for 50 guineas. In the First Spring Meeting the Duke's Fortitude could not stand up against the Prince of Wales's Serpent, or General Wyndham's Osprey, and in these two events his Royal Highness resigned himself to the loss of 200 guineas. Jericho too was beat by the Duke of Bedfortl's Dragon for 200 guineas. A ray of sunshine now appeared to the royal sportsman, for, in the First Spring Meeting, Conqueror beat the Duke of Queensbury's Dash six miles, 300 guineas. Where were the Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals in those days? In the Second Spring Meeting, the clouds again lowered over the house of Orleans. Conqueror was beat by Butler for the Jockey Club Plate, and again at Epsom by Tickler. Jericho was beat by Sir Charles Bunbury's Smack, for 200 guineas; as was his Colonel by Wyndham's Pecker, for 100 guineas. Whether his Royal Highness anticipated taking leave of the turf, and wishing a "good morning" to his sporting friends, we know not; but a two-year-old colt, named Good Morning, by Trentham, is the last we have to record. This flyer happened to win a trial stakes of 50 guineas, beating six others, with the odds of 6 to 1 against him, and was immediately named for the Oatlands, 40 subscribers, 100 guineas each; but, upon being beat in a match over the old course by Mr. Bullock's Contractor, his Royal Highness "shut up" by declaring forfeit.


To resume the death of his grandson, the late Duke of Orleans, was a sad blow to the French turf; and although, under the able direction of Count de Cambis, the stud is still kept up, we lose the name of the prince, which was a tower of strength" to the racing world. Had his Royal Highness lived, we have little doubt but that he would have annually presented a cup, to be run for at the spot of his racing triumph, Goodwood. As it is, the Orleans Vase, won by the Duke of Richmond's horse Mus, in 1841, leaves a lasting memorial of the prince's liberality and love of the turf.

In a former article we have quoted a sporting Frenchman's opinion of an Englishman's passion for equitation, in which he states "that English lawyers arrive at their courts on horseback, duly spurred, with whips in their hands, and that their names daily figure in the betting lists." From these Gallic exaggerations we proceed to give the remarks of a most talented, though rather prejudiced French writer, upon the sports of the world, intermixed with remarks and anecdotes of our own. "By the word sport," says the author in question, "are meant all manly exercises, including hunting, shooting, racing, steeple-chasing, coursing, coaching, bull-baiting, cock and dog-fighting. Every country has its national sport. Spain

boasts of its bull-fights-a sanguinary sport, the remnant of Moorish barbarism; or, as Byron writes

"Such the ungentle sport, that oft invites

The Spanish maid and cheers the Spanish swain:
Nurtured in blood betimes, his heart delights

In vengeance, gloating on another's pain."

Rome and Florence find their sport in their races without riders. The land of the Czar has its sports on the ice. Racing too is known, but not upon such courses as we are accustomed to; instead of the 'Ditch-in' and 'two middle miles,' we read of turnpike roads, twenty and fifty miles' length. And here, while upon the subject of Russia, we cannot refrain from giving a slight sketch of an "out-and-out" sporting character lately arrived from that country. The subject of the sketch is a young Tartar, who, having been taken by the Russians, some four years ago, in a skirmish with the Circassians, had the alternative offered him of entering the Russian service, or being exiled to Siberia. He chose the former, and soon was promoted to the command of a small troop of cavalry. One day upon parade his superior officer gave way to the violence of his temper, and accused the Tartar of neglect and disobedience of orders. This the young warrior bore with patience; but when, in the heat of his passion, the Russian officer gave him the lie, and struck him, his blood was up, and with his sabre he cut the tyrant down. Feeling that his only chance was in flight, the gallant youth stuck his spurs into the sides of his steed, and was followed by six soldiers, anxious to avenge their commander's fall. But although they could not literally "catch a Tartar," they did so figuratively, for four of the pursuers fell under the unerring aim of the pursued; the remaining two

It is now some years that, with the view of proving the superiority of English thoroughbred horses over any others, Count Matuchewitz started Sharper and Mina against an Arabian and Cossack, for a race of forty-eight English miles, on a turnpike road, and which was won easy by Sharper. In the winter of 1839, another race was made, to be run at Libidian, a town about 120 miles to the southeast of Moscow, where a good race meeting and an immense horse fair take place annually. The events of the race were as follows::

Two Hundred and Forty Pounds (English money), given by his Imperial Majesty, with £50 added for the second horse; four years old to carry 8st. 5lb. ; five, 9st.; and aged, 9st. 9lb.; mares allowed 4lb.; distance, 20 miles English. Mr. Koratchugan's ch. c. by Red Rover, out of Proserpine, four years old...


Mr. Petrossky's br. m. by Regent, out of Fair Ellen, five years


Mr. Wockoff's b. h. Concert, by Memnon, out of Cassandra,
five years old....


Prince Tumen's ch. m. by a Persian stallion, out of a Calmuck


Mr. Talhoft's br. m. Mouse, of pure Calmuck breed.

(The last two stood still at the 18th mile.)

Mr. Varle's b. m. Hope, by an Arabian, out of a Cossack mare.. 0

(Stood still at the 16th mile.)

A pretty race between the three English thorough-bred horses for some distance, but won easy at last. Ran in 58 minutes 54 seconds. The sire of the winner was bred by General Grosvenor, by Nicol, a Selim horse, out of a Beningborough mare.

gave up the chace, but not before they were severely wounded. We pass over the young Tartar's "hair-breadth 'scapes," his "moving accidents by flood and field;" suffice it to say, he and his faithful steed reached England in safety, and in the month of August last was safely located in the Regent's Park Barracks, where he found the very best entertainment for man and horse. Anxious to put the Tartar's sabre practice to the test, two non-commissioned officers of the 1st Life Guards turned out with single-sticks, to give him a taste of their quality, and certainly a more wonderful performance was never before witnessed. With a single stroke of the sabre the Tartar cut one of the foemen's stick (we are literal, not figurative) into twenty pieces; and, though he got rather severely handled over the arms and shoulders, succeeded in slicing the other stick completely down to the guard. Then being pursued, he threw his lance (covered over and buttoned as a foil) the length of twenty yards with such precision and strength as almost to take the breath out of the gallant Life Guardsman's body. He then went through sundry evolutions, which would not have disgraced Ducrow's talented Circle in its palmy days -firing pistols at marks with unerring aim during the horse's best speed; throwing himself on and off his Bucephalus ; picking up his spear in a gallop; throwing the whole of his body off his horse, and clinging only by his leg, thus giving his enemies no mark but that limb to fire at; firing pistols between his horse's fore and hind legs; and, placing his pistol in his horse's mouth, fired it off in that position. In short, giving the spectators the most varied representation of the predatory warfare of his native country. His trusty steed deserves a few words. He is a grey Arabian, about fourteen hands three inches, active, and full of courage. Upon being asked whether he would dispose of him, the young Tartar clung to his neck, and patting him with the greatest kindness, exclaimed in excellent German"No! he is my life, my eyes, my arm, my body, my all. Never, to the last day of my existence, will I part with the partner of my cares, to whom I am indebted for my life." At the termination of the "tournament," the young warrior was presented with a purse of fifty sovereigns, which the officers of the 1st Life Guards and their friends had collected for him. Since that period, he has left England for Constantinople, where we wish him all health and happiness. Before leaving the subject of Russia, we must not omit to point out the munificent liberality of the Emperor and his son the Cesarewitch, who, independent of patronizing the sports of their native land, encourage them in ours by giving two splendid prizes to be run for annually at Ascot and Newmarket. We proceed.

"In Germany the sport amongst the higher classes consists of battues, where the game, being driven into a small circle, is butchered by "gunners." During the Congress of Vienna, in 1815, I was witness to one of these exhibitions, given to the crowned heads, and a tamer sport I never beheld. Every species of game, from a rabbit to a rein-deer, fell a victim to the unerring ain of the gun or foot of the royal and imperial personages; for, literally speaking, as much game was trampled upon, or knocked upon the head, as shot. the head, as shot. An English farmyard, full of pigs and poultry, with a hutch of white rabbits turned

[ocr errors]

In Holland,

loose in it, would furnish an equally good battue.
the sport consists of shooting wild geese and ducks in winter, sledg-
ing, skating, bowls, billiards, chess, and tennis; in the East, the
jereed exercise and tiger-hunting; in Africa, lion-hunting."

Upon the national sports of England our French author writes most elaborately, and proceeds to classify them according, as he says, to Bell's Life. His remarks and ideas are occasionally quaint, sensible, and just, at other times absurd to a degree; they may not, however, be totally uninteresting to our readers, who we will leave to judge for themselves. "The place of honour," he writes, "belongs to the race-horses, and between them is a line of demarcation. The horses that are to run for the Derby, at Epsom, are first named, and after them come the champions for the Duncastle St. Leger." We pass over some remarks upon Tattersall's, or, as the Frenchman calls it, the Bourse du Sport, to his graphic account of the Derby. "The Derby is a national fete in England. The Derby! Where is the Englishman who will not sacrifice for it his dearest interests, his very duties, nay, the presence of the object of his love? The Derby! A wizard potent enough to wrest for a whole day an Englishman from his lethargic gravity. Thousands of vehicles cover the plain, filled with elegant and lovely women; the Queen, with her dazzling toilet and beauty; the highest nobles of England, treating as their equals the trainers and jockeys; the hawkers; the suttling booths; the gambling booths; the bettors; every vehicle converted into a dining-room. Oh! the wonderful sight, wonderful even to eyes not English! The signal for starting is given; the horses rush forward. A solemn silence now prevails. The horses fly; they would not be so light if they carried all the gold staked on their speed! They approach the goal; the struggle is desperate. Silence has ceased. Some excite by voice and gesture the horse upon which they have staked their fortune. The cries raised by others, though more disinterested, are not less vehement. Twenty horses have started; only two or three return. What a dearly bought victory! But the conqueror has often won £30,000 or £40,000. The race being over, vehicle races begin on the road; amidst an awful confusion they are driven against one another, break down, or overturn. The roads are strewed with shattered poles and wheels; nothing stops the drunken drivers. One would fancy it a breaking up of the ice on the Neva, an avalanche of Mont Blanc, a tempest of the ocean." Our author proceeds: "After racing follows steeple-chasing and coursing, and next come stag, hare, and fox-hunting, with their fatigues and perils." Hold hard! brother sportsman; who ever in England heard of fox-hunting coming after coursing, calf-hunting, or currant-jelly hounds? Here in accounting for fox-hunting, occupying the fourth rank, the writer has evidently found a mare's nest, for he says, "that he has discovered the reason of this unjust classification, which is that in the chace there is no betting, and that Englishmen reduce everything to bets."

Then come pigeon-shooting and dog-fighting; of the latter sport the writer says, "It has already begun to degenerate, and we shall see it presently fall lower still." Sincerely do we trust that his

« PredošláPokračovať »